Open Text content management now on BlackBerry

Open Text Corp. is expanding its enterprise content management (ECM) offerings to the mobile device starting first with the BlackBerry. But one analyst said this is merely one step among many necessary moves.


The Waterloo-based company announced Tuesday Open Text Everywhere so customers can now be BlackBerry-enabled and access ECM tools across the corporate firewall. Eugene Roman, chief technology officer with Open Text, said combining the broad install base captured by Research In Motion Ltd.‘s popular enterprise device with ECM tools will enable customers to do so much more.


“While laptops are useful smart phones become much more useful because it is information on demand, information on the fly,” said Roman.


But Nigel Wallis, research director with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd., said that ECM has morphed and become so broad in scope that Open Text must go mobile in addition to doing other things. “This is one step among many that Open Text has to look at in order to keep bringing their suite in front of IT buyers,” said Wallis.


Open Text invests CD$225 million in R&D 

Content management has become an “under-thought” area of the IT product market in the last few years, said Wallis. Moreover, it’s a competitive threat to Open Text that ECM has changed in the way that it has, he said, with vendors like Google Inc. taking a content search approach to ECM and Microsoft Corp. taking a content management portal approach with SharePoint.


Wallis said users don’t want to buy a shovel but want a hole in the ground. “In this case, people don’t care necessarily that it’s content management,” he said.


Wallis is surprised that Open Text hadn’t extended its ECM offerings to the mobile much earlier, citing enterprise-specific form factor and security challenges as possible reasons for the delay. “The architecture is a different scale of problems than architecting the latest coolest Flash game on your phone,” said Wallis.


Roman acknowledged the limitations, like smaller screen footprint, presented by mobile devices and said the mobile ECM offerings focus on the essentials for the mobile user. “It doesn’t give you the kitchen sink … but it sure gives you what you need to get the job done,” he said.


But he said Open Text worked hard to not lose the benefits of ECM when translated to the BlackBerry. Compact forms of information in small widgets is one such example of the mobile transition.


The mobile ECM tools really leverage the secure BlackBerry platform to focus on process workflow like document approvals, said Roman. “If you get a notification from the content server that you’ve got an approval waiting, and you’ve got to go back and try and connect to a laptop or a desktop, this really closes that gap,” said Roman.


Following support for the BlackBerry, Roman said Apple Inc.’s iPhone is the next likely step. Open Text is also considering other platforms including Symbian, Google Android and Microsoft Windows 7.


Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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